Strategic Growth

2020/21 Part-time Postgraduate course


Master of Science


Ulster University Business School


Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


Jordanstown campus

Start date:

September 2020

Academic Year 2020/21

Our first term will commence as planned on 21 September and we will be prepared to deliver lectures and other teaching online for Semester One

Some on-campus activities will still take place, based on a robust local risk assessment, and priority will be given to using campus spaces for practice-based learning activities including lab work.

The University’s primary concern remains the physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff, their families and the wider community. Nothing is more important to us.

On our COVID-19 webpages you will find further information for applicants and students, along with answers to some of the questions you may have.


Release your company's potential for real strategic growth in association with others with the same ambition.


This programme is for company owner managers who are ambitious about the future growth potential of their company. This means working with like-minded owner managers and world-class educators in an immersive, practical way to achieve those ambitions for business growth. This investment will result in meaningful growth for the company and a tangible Masters’ qualification for the individual.

The programme is a unique investment opportunity:

  • Targeted at company owner managers who have decided that now is the time to realise their ambitions to shape their company’s future growth potential.
  • Designed specifically for company owner managers who recognise that their next significant stage of growth has to be planned strategically.
  • Providing support to company owner managers in managing the disruptive impact of strategic growth on their company commercially and on them personally.
  • Drawing on the cumulative experience of other programme participants to create a supportive community of learners and practitioners.
  • Building on UUBS’s forty years of working with owner managers of SMEs, supported by Business Practitioners who are a part of the business school’s network.
  • Drawing on experienced Business Executive Educators at Babson College in Boston, which is the leading centre for entrepreneurial learning and practice in the USA.

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About this course


The MSc Strategic Growth has been developed in response to the clearly identified needs of entrepreneurial business owner managers of SMEs who want to learn how best to develop and grow their businesses. The programme is designed specifically for business owner managers who have determined on the strategic development and growth of their businesses. It is designed to support their learning as entrepreneurial business practitioners centering on issues of entrepreneurial thinking, leadership, competitiveness and the innovative management of scare resources, including human, social, financial and reputational capital.

Participants will normally study one module in each semester and learning in each module will be supplemented and augmented by a series of group-learning workshops totalling two further days of supported learning. The module in the first semester will be undertaken in collaboration with colleagues at Babson College, Massachusetts, USA. In the second and third semester of the second year, participants will undertake an additional 60 point module which will require participants to undertake and complete an applied project scoping out the strategic growth potential of the participant’s business.


The programme is modular in design with participants undertaking four, four-day modules and one additional, long-thin research module to obtain the MSc Strategic Growth. To be awarded the MSc Strategic Growth, participants must complete and pass all modules on the programme. Participants may, in exceptional circumstances, exit with the Postgraduate Diploma Strategic Growth award provided that they have passed the four taught modules on the programme.

Start dates

  • September 2020

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The teaching and learning strategy for the MSc Strategic Growth programme is enquiry-based learning, utilising predominately a project-based and experiential learning approach. The above strategy will be achieved through a variety of blended teaching and learning methods including an opening residential, block-day workshops, company based action learning sets, coaching/mentoring, online library access, online learning materials and online collaborative/communication platforms.

The programme’s design has been guided by Universal Design Principles, to ensure the learning and teaching approaches are designed to meet the needs of all learners. As the programme is delivered on a part-time basis and targeted at mature students, the delivery approaches are designed to be equitable, flexible and accessible for all participants. This is ensured through a variety of teaching approaches, block day teaching and company-based workshops and all resources supplied via the Virtual Learning Environment.

Cumulative learning is a core characteristic of the programme as participants work their way through the series of modules designed to follow the stages of growth of the small to medium sized business. Participants will be challenged intellectually, to critically reflect upon, and continually learn from, their actions. To develop the participants’ capacity for critical reflexivity, an Entrepreneurial Learning Portfolio (ELP) will be utilised as an assessment method across the first four modules. The portfolio will capture the participant’s action and reflection through the four stages of business growth. The weighting for the ELP within modules will vary, depending on the level of reflexivity required for the context of learning.

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    The content for each course is summarised on the relevant course page, along with an overview of the modules that make up the course.

    Each course is approved by the University and meets the expectations of:

    Attendance and Independent Study

    As part of your course induction, you will be provided with details of the organisation and management of the course, including attendance and assessment requirements - usually in the form of a timetable. For full-time courses, the precise timetable for each semester is not confirmed until close to the start date and may be subject to some change in the early weeks as all courses settle into their planned patterns. For part-time courses which require attendance on particular days and times, an expectation of the days and periods of attendance will be included in the letter of offer. A course handbook is also made available.

    Courses comprise modules for which the notional effort involved is indicated by its credit rating. Each credit point represents 10 hours of student effort. Undergraduate courses typically contain 10- or 20-credit modules (more usually 20) and postgraduate course typically 15- or 30-credit modules.

    The normal study load expectation for an undergraduate full-time course of study in the standard academic year is 120 credit points. This amounts to around 36-42 hours of expected teaching and learning per week, inclusive of attendance requirements for lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical work, fieldwork or other scheduled classes, private study, and assessment. Part-time study load is the same as full-time pro-rata, with each credit point representing 10 hours of student effort.

    Postgraduate Master’s courses typically comprise 180 credits, taken in three semesters when studied full-time. A Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert) comprises 60 credits and can usually be completed on a part-time basis in one year. A 120-credit Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip) can usually be completed on a part-time basis in two years.

    Class contact times vary by course and type of module. Typically, for a module predominantly delivered through lectures you can expect at least 3 contact hours per week (lectures/seminars/tutorials). Laboratory classes often require a greater intensity of attendance in blocks. Some modules may combine lecture and laboratory. The precise model will depend on the course you apply for and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. Prospective students will be consulted about any significant changes.


    Assessment methods vary and are defined explicitly in each module. Assessment can be a combination of examination and coursework but may also be only one of these methods. Assessment is designed to assess your achievement of the module’s stated learning outcomes. You can expect to receive timely feedback on all coursework assessment. The precise assessment will depend on the module and may be subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Coursework can take many forms, for example: essay, report, seminar paper, test, presentation, dissertation, design, artefacts, portfolio, journal, group work. The precise form and combination of assessment will depend on the course you apply for and the module. Details will be made available in advance through induction, the course handbook, the module specification and the assessment timetable. The details are subject to change from year to year for quality or enhancement reasons. You will be consulted about any significant changes.

    Normally, a module will have 4 learning outcomes, and no more than 2 items of assessment. An item of assessment can comprise more than one task. The notional workload and the equivalence across types of assessment is standardised.

    Calculation of the Final Award

    The class of Honours awarded in Bachelor’s degrees is usually determined by calculation of an aggregate mark based on performance across the modules at Levels 5 and 6, (which correspond to the second and third year of full-time attendance).

    Level 6 modules contribute 70% of the aggregate mark and Level 5 contributes 30% to the calculation of the class of the award. Classification of integrated Master’s degrees with Honours include a Level 7 component. The calculation in this case is: 50% Level 7, 30% Level 6, 20% Level 5. At least half the Level 5 modules must be studied at the University for Level 5 to be included in the calculation of the class.

    All other qualifications have an overall grade determined by results in modules from the final level of study. In Master’s degrees of more than 200 credit points the final 120 points usually determine the overall grading.

Academic profile

The University employs over 1,000 suitably qualified and experienced academic staff - 59% have PhDs in their subject field and many have professional body recognition.

Courses are taught by staff who are Professors (25%), Readers, Senior Lecturers (18%) or Lecturers (57%).

We require most academic staff to be qualified to teach in higher education: 82% hold either Postgraduate Certificates in Higher Education Practice or higher. Most academic staff (81%) are accredited fellows of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) - the university sector professional body for teaching and learning. Many academic and technical staff hold other professional body designations related to their subject or scholarly practice.

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    The profiles of many academic staff can be found on the University’s departmental websites and give a detailed insight into the range of staffing and expertise. The precise staffing for a course will depend on the department(s) involved and the availability and management of staff. This is subject to change annually and is confirmed in the timetable issued at the start of the course.

    Occasionally, teaching may be supplemented by suitably qualified part-time staff (usually qualified researchers) and specialist guest lecturers. In these cases, all staff are inducted, mostly through our staff development programme ‘First Steps to Teaching’. In some cases, usually for provision in one of our out-centres, Recognised University Teachers are involved, supported by the University in suitable professional development for teaching.

    Figures correct for academic year 2019-2020.

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Jordanstown is our biggest campus in an idyllic setting surrounded by lush lawns and trees. It's just a few hundred metres from Loughshore Park and promenade, and just seven miles from Belfast city centre.

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At our Jordanstown Campus we have world class facilities that are open all year round to our students and members of the public.

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Student support

At Student Support we provide many services to help students through their time at Ulster University.

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Ulster University
Shore Road
Co. Antrim
BT37 0QB

T: 028 7012 3456


Here is a guide to the subjects studied on this course.

Courses are continually reviewed to take advantage of new teaching approaches and developments in research, industry and the professions. Please be aware that modules may change for your year of entry. The exact modules available and their order may vary depending on course updates, staff availability, timetabling and student demand. Please contact the course team for the most up to date module list.

In this section

Year one

Strategic Orientation

Year: 1

The module explores with programme participants the challenges of moving from organic business development to entrepreneurial strategic growth and the importance of forming an appropriate strategic orientation within the business as an essential first step in the stages of that growth.

Strategic Development

Year: 1

This module examines the challenges associated with strategic development and the importance of developing a clear proposition detailing the firm's competitive advantage. This requires an analysis of the core competencies and capabilities required to be competitive, as well as a consideration of the various leadership, managerial and resource challenges which present themselves as the firm develops.

Strategic Implementation

Year: 1

This module focuses on the issue of strategy implementation. In particular, it focuses on how organisations can acquire and leverage resources - human, financial, technological and knowledge - to achieve maximal value and develop sustainable competitive advantage.

Year two

Strategic Futures

Year: 2

This module focuses on the issue of strategic renewal, within both the context of existing operations and the identification and exploitation of future opportunities. Strategies for rethinking the current business model and resource allocation / usage / management will be examined alongside strategies for effectively leading organisational change to enable exploitation of new opportunities.

Strategic Planning Project

Year: 2

The core aim of the Strategic Planning Project is that participants should have the opportunity to draw on newly accumulated knowledge and developing leadership skills, developed through engagement with the earlier modules in the programme, to diagnose and investigate the realities of growing their businesses in an increasingly strategic way, to collect, analyse and manage data, to come to supportable conclusions and to take actionable, ethical decisions. The total learning process in this module is to develop and test participants' conceptual and analytical capability and to enhance both their entrepreneurial leadership potential

Standard entry conditions

We recognise a range of qualifications for admission to our courses. In addition to the specific entry conditions for this course you must also meet the University’s General Entrance Requirements.

Entry Requirements

Applicants should normally have a second class honours degree or equivalent and own or manage a small or medium sized enterprise.

Applicants will, however, be considered from those with significant work experience and who are managing or own their own business.

English Language Requirements

English language requirements for international applicants
The minimum requirement for this course is Academic IELTS 6.0 with no band score less than 5.5. Trinity ISE: Pass at level III also meets this requirement for Tier 4 visa purposes.

Ulster recognises a number of other English language tests and comparable IELTS equivalent scores.

Exemptions and transferability

Studies pursued and assessments passed in respect of other qualifications awarded by the University or by another university or other educational institution may be accepted as exempting candidates from part of the course. Exemption is not permitted from the Strategic Planning Project module.

United States of America flagAdditional information for students from United States of America


Typically we require applicant for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree (usually in a relevant subject area). Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus. We consider students who have good grades in the following:

Typically, we require applicants for taught programmes to hold the equivalent of a UK first degree. 

Please refer to the specific entry requirements for your chosen course of study as outlined in the online prospectus.

The comparable US qualifications are as follows:


UK 2:1 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 out of 4

UK 2:2 Degree - Bachelor degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.6 out of 4

Financial Information

In addition to the scholarships and bursaries open to all international students, US students may apply for Federal and Private US loans

English Language

Level 12 English Lang in HSD

View more information for students from United States of America  

Careers & opportunities

In this section

Career options

You will already be an owner manager with a determination to pursue strategic growth for your business enterprise. This course will help you improve your management and leadeship practices to help you to achieve that growth, by drawing on the expertise of academics at Ulster University and Babson College as well as business practitioners.


Start dates

  • September 2020

Fees and funding

In this section

Additional mandatory costs

There are no additional mandatory costs associated with the MSc Strategic Growth.

Tuition fees and costs associated with accommodation, travel (including car parking charges), and normal living are a part of university life.

Where a course has additional mandatory expenses we make every effort to highlight them. These may include residential visits, field trips, materials (e.g. art, design, engineering) inoculations, security checks, computer equipment, uniforms, professional memberships etc.

We aim to provide students with the learning materials needed to support their studies. Our libraries are a valuable resource with an extensive collection of books and journals as well as first-class facilities and IT equipment. Computer suites and free wifi is also available on each of the campuses.

There will be some additional costs to being a student which cannot be itemised and these will be different for each student. You may choose to purchase your own textbooks and course materials or prefer your own computer and software. Printing and binding may also be required. There are additional fees for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines. Additional costs vary from course to course.

Students choosing a period of paid work placement or study abroad as part of their course should be aware that there may be additional travel and living costs as well as tuition fees.

Please contact the course team for more information.


If you would like to have an informal discussion about the course, please contact:

Professor Pauric McGowan (Course Director)

T: +44 (0)28 9036 8864


For more information visit

Ulster University Business School

Department of Management, Leadership and Marketing


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